How To Do Sydney’s City2Surf With Kids

City2Surf for kids 2

The 2018 City2Surf is on Sunday 12th August. If you are wondering whether it would work well for your family, here’s what you need to know.

Sydney’s City2Surf with kids

By Ayesha Riaz

A friend suggested we should do City2Surf with kids. At first it seemed impossible.

My kids, although outdoorsy and having completed a 5km marathon previously, still did not look like they could be up for 14 km.

Surely, little Miss 6 with all her tantrums cannot be expected to keep going for 14 km?

And Mr. 10, how will he survive the whole day without an iPad (even his dad has trouble doing this)?

But that’s exactly what they did and surprised us and themselves too!

A little bit about Sydney’s City2Surf

This iconic event is held annually in Sydney in August. It covers a course of 14 km starting from the centre of Sydney, going through the beautiful suburbs of the East Sydney, Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay, Rose Bay and Vaucluse and ending at Bondi Beach.

The City2Surf is a race as well as a fun run and attracts more than 80,000 participants every year. People can choose to run or walk.

Extra buses and trains are run which make travelling back from Bondi by public transport a breeze.

City2Surf map for kids

Our City2Surf

We registered ourselves in the Orange group which is suitable for families including parents with prams.

This group started at 9:30 in the morning and it took us around four hours to complete the walk. This includes toilet breaks and two short snack breaks.

What I loved most about the event was the community spirit. People standing on their balconies cheered us on while bands played live music on the roadsides.

There was a huge effort from all the volunteers too helping keep everyone hydrated.

I also loved the fact that I was able to walk freely on some of the busiest yet gorgeous roads in Sydney and admire the water views as well as various architectures. This is something impossible on a normal day.

Sydney is one the most beautiful cities in the world and there’s no better way of exploring parts of it than on foot during the City2Surf.

City2Surf for kids

Top tips for doing City2Surf with kids

  • Although a fun run, it should still be taken seriously and you must train for it with kids. It might prove harder for kids to walk 14 km without any prior training. We trained with kids for one month prior to the event starting with 5 km twice a week and then 10 km once a week.
  • Training for this event is all part of the fun and will get you and your family in better shape. We trained at Sydney International Regatta Centre as one round of the lake over there is 5 km and easy to calculate. You can of course choose any path and measure your walk through Google Maps Pedometer or any such app. •
  • While registering for this event don’t forget to select the option that let’s you receive the race bibs via post. If you don’t select it you will have to collect the race bibs from city prior to the event. Also, register early, as the yellow and orange groups tend to sell out.
  • Snacks are a must. But try to pack lightweight snacks that are not high in sugar. Protein and nut bars are excellent for adults but children often don’t like them. Fruit and cheese slices are a good idea, or some kind of sandwiches.
  • You will need water because with kids you always need water. However, you don’t need to pack loads of it, as there are plenty of hydration stations along the course including water and electrolytes.
  • Extra toilets were arranged at 5 points through the course. However, there were long queues and one toilet break took approximately 15 mins. We stopped at one near Double Bay and then near Dover Heights. First aid stations were also located at 5 points.
  • It is a good idea to mentally prepare kids for the Heartbreak Hill. This approximately 3 km part of the course is on elevation. Once this is done the rest of the walk is much more achievable.
  • Be on time and start the walk on time. There will be many picturesque settings along the way but you wouldn’t have time to sit and admire, as there is a cut off time for all the roads before traffic is allowed back on.
  • Last but not least, try to carry a backpack that is comfortable for you. I made the mistake of carrying a backpack that was not meant for long walks and at the end of the day my back was simply killing me.

Training for this event and then finally completing the course gave my kids a huge ego boost. It also reinforced the idea that if you work hard for something you can achieve it.

They were extremely proud of themselves and took their medals to school next day to show their friends and teachers.

We can’t wait for City2Surf to come again! And next time we are planning to really get into the spirit of it and go as unicorns or be the purple team. Hope to see you there.

The official City2Surf website is here.

City2Surf for kids 1

Would you do the City2Surf with your children?

Have you any top tips to add?

Thanks so much for this post, Ayesha.

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  1. says: grace

    Im a kid and running 14 km is too far! Can you please make a shorter run maybe 7km???? I’m not saying this because I’m unfit, I’m REALLY fit, but its bad enough running on roads then running on roads and for 14km!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hi there, you’ll have to get in touch with City2Surf and let them know!! There are many shorter runs going on around Sydney though… most families do walk the City2Surf but some kids do actually run it. They’re fitter than me.

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